Water out of thin air

Drought resistant plants and collecting water from the air are ways the VBG is helping conserve water.

It’s not news to say that California is currently experiencing an unprecedented drought. What is news is the way that the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) has decided to approach the problem. Using emerging technologies designed to provide greater new water options, the VBG, with an interest in reducing additional impact on current water resources, is initiating an experimental fog collection project.

Fog collection can harvest significant amounts of water per foggy day, factoring in daily and seasonal variables. The VBG project is designed to collect and measure water from Ventura’s atmosphere on foggy days; the foggier the season, the greater the water collection.

According to VBG Executive Director Joe Cahill, “With water resources at such low levels in Ventura, we are investigating a number of non-traditional sources for helping with long-term plans to irrigate plants for our botanical collection, including reclaimed water and rainwater collection. The atmospheric water harvesting (collecting water from fog in the air) is one of our most exciting options.”

The technology for fog collection made its greatest strides in the 1980s as Canada began to develop options for large-scale use. As the drought continues to cause concern for Southern California, innovative organizations are looking to technologies like this for current implementation.

The Ventura Botanical Gardens is teaming up with students from the Ventura College Water Science Department to share the collected data. The students will collect data and analyze it to calculate the potential for supplementation, and to compare it with other fog collection stations located throughout the world.

The experimental installation includes a one square meter collector with standard polypropylene mesh obtained from scientists in Chile, where much of the world’s recent fog collection research has taken place.

For further information please contact Joe Cahill at 232-3113, ext. 0 or jcahill@venturabotanicalgardens.com.

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